North Korea — The Kim Jong-un’s regime has sentenced an American man born in South Korea, to 10 years of hard labor for “subversion and espionage,” according to a North Korean spokesperson who talked to CNN. Prosecutors were expecting to issue a 15 years sentence.
State-run news agency KCNA said that Kim Dong Chul has committed “offenses in a scheme to overthrow the socialist system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” During the last two months, two Americans have received hard labor sentences from the same country.
The defense of Kim Dong Chul argued that the awarded crimes are very serious but “he is old and may repent of his faults.” The verdict was announced by North Korea’s Supreme Court. State Department spokesman John Kirby said to CNN via email, that the welfare of Americans is among the top priorities of the Department.
“In cases where U.S. citizens are reported detained in North Korea, we work closely with the Swedish Embassy, which serves as the United States’ Protecting Power in North Korea. We have no further comment due to privacy considerations,” said Kirby, according to CNN.
According to media reports, Kim Dong Chul was the president of a company in charge of international trade and hotel services, in the area of Yanji, a Chinese city near the Chinese-North Korean border. In March, a U.S. student from the University of Virginia, received an even tougher sentence of 15 years of hard labor, for taking off a political banner from a hotel located in Pyongyang.
North Korea has launched three missile tests during the last two weeks
On Thursday, the Kim Jong-un’s regime conducted two unsuccessful intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launches, according to Korea Joongang Daily. New actions have caused protests by the United Nations, which fears a new missile test and a fifth nuclear test, shortly.
The country launched two Musudan missiles on Thursday from Wonsan, a port city and naval base, said the South Korean military, as reported by Joongang Daily. The United States and South Korea reported that both launches have failed.
The United Nations Security Council gathered Friday in New York city, to discuss the three failed ballistic missile launches. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited Pyongyang to stop further “provocative actions,” said Reuters.
On May 6, North Korea is going to celebrate the Seventh Congress of the Korean Worker’s Party. Last time the country carried out a similar event was in 1980. Analysts suggest that Kim Jong-un will conduct a fifth nuclear test during the days prior to the congress.